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Skybetter Business Bureau: When Artists Expect to Earn a Living

Artists-Living-CFRThis is a guest post is by Ken Tabachnick – designer, arts manager, dean and thinker.

I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations.

Recently, three published pieces raised the question of our expectations as artists and how we present our work. (Many thanks to Thomas Cott and You’ve Cott Mail for alerting us to these and many other salient conversations.) While not all the pieces discuss the same topic, each one raises, at least by inference or implication, the question of how an artist can fulfill his or her expectation of a reasonable living wage in our current environment.

These pieces, addressing various aspects of this topic, are: “Why ‘Where’? Because ‘Who’: Arts venues, spaces and traditions (by Brent Reidy of AEA Consulting, for the James Irvine Foundation); “Artists Report Back: A National Study on the Lives of Arts Graduates and Working Artists” (by BFAMFAPhD); and “The Pomplamoose Problem: Artists Can’t Survive as Saints and Martyrs” (by “artist empathist” Sarah Manning).

“Artists Report Back” and “The Pomplamoose Problem” detail the gap in the reality of making a living that artists face. “Why ‘Where’?…” details the changed expectation of current audiences and the changing relationship between audience and artist regarding the space in which the art takes place.

(Click here to read the rest on The Clyde Fitch Report)

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Currently Deputy Dean for Tisch Asia at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Ken Tabachnick has broad and diverse experience in the arts. He has managed a large ballet company, worked as an intellectual property attorney and designed lighting for theater, opera, dance, film and television. He is on the Executive Committee of Dance/USA, is an officer of the Stephen Petronio Company and a Trustee of the Hemsley Lighting Programs. Tabachnick’s periodic writing and speaking on the arts can be found at PeriodicArts.

Sydney Skybetter is a technologist, choreographer, and writer. His dances are regularly performed around the country, most recently at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Boston Center for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow and the Joyce Theater. As a Founding Partner with the Edwards & Skybetter | Change Agency, he has consulted on issues of change management and technology for The National Ballet of Canada, Barnes & Noble, New York University and The University of Southern California among others. He lectures on everything from dance history to cultural futurism, and is a frequent speaker at JuilliardDance/USA, and Opera America. He is a regular contributor to The Clyde Fitch Report, serves on the faculty of The Boston Conservatory, and is a lecturer on Dance History at Harvard University. He produces shows at Joe’s Pub and OBERON with DanceNOW[NYC], and was the first to get the word “Frack” in print at Dance Magazine. @SydneySkybetter

*Photo above by Adam Voorhes accompanying this article on The Clyde Fitch Report courtesy CFR.

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